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Penny Patch (ish) Quilt


Before I begin talking about my latest quilt, I want to thank all of you who commented so thoughtfully on my last post!  To manage my online time, I have generally chosen to not interact extensively online, which means I often don't reply to comments.  Thus I gratefully receive each comment I get as a beautiful gift, knowing that it takes an effort to communicate.  I don't expect or require it in any way, but it's still much appreciated!  (and you should go read the comments from my last post, they are interesting and not necessarily the replies I expected!)

Now let's talk about this quilt!  I was feeling frustrated with some recent quilt block fails, and nothing was feeling 'right'.  I just wanted something fool proof and scrappy.  I thought of Stitched In Color's Penny Patch Quilt, as it's one I did long ago and always thought sometimes I'd make another.  I found her instructions and studied the quilts made with this pattern.  I always do this, mainly to analyze values.  As I often say, the colors are the fun part but the value placement is what makes the whole quilt design work, or not work. 

At first glance, I knew that I wanted to have all the blocks in the quilt of a similar value. The exception would be those little four patch squares that run in diagonal lines up and down.  They would be the opposite value.  So in this case I wanted a dark moody quilt (I was listening to Lord of the Rings:).  I decided all the main quilt body would be dark value and the little four patch squares would be light.

Now you are thinking "Yes Jolene, that's all fine but this quilt does not look like the Penny Patch quilt?"  Well, after making a couple blocks I realized that just this one block from the quilt pattern would make a lovely design on it's own.  

So I continued making blocks like this, and think it's a great simple pattern that is almost no fail.  You could try using the opposite values to what I did for a lighter quilt.  Or use the entire Penny Patch pattern in the values I used here.  (I plan to do this)

For a simple visual, I'm adding a photo below that shows the sizes you need to cut for this one block.  I always make my quilts by cutting enough fabric for a few blocks, maybe about 6.  I make these and put them up on the design wall to analyze my value and color selections.  Then I choose some more fabrics and cut another 6, and on and on.  This way I have control as I go along and don't waste fabric by cutting it all out and then realizing I don't like the way it's looking.  

Here's what you need for one block.  So simple, right?!  The magic happens when you start putting the blocks together!  It's addicting I tell you.  I'm curious if this is a traditional block that has a name?  Or maybe multiple names as many blocks have.  If you know of one, I'd love if you'd mention it in the comments and I could add it to this post.

Four Patch in a Square Quilt


Here's another quilt that I finished a long time back and now realized that I didn't add to my blog.  This is a favorite of mine, and is one of the few quilts I plan to keep.  It's a time consuming pattern to make as it includes lots of little pieces, but it's so cute in any fabric, it's a no fail pattern!

I do have a simple tutorial for this block here

With so many seams, this quilt ends up being a little bit stiffer than some.  This is also something to consider when trying to make soft quilts.  More seams can make it less soft.  Now this is not something I concern myself with alot.  It's only noticeable when there is a large amount of seams in a small space like this quilt.  

I backed it with a double gauze and hand quilted it with a golden colored perle cotton.

Hills Improv Quilt


This quilt has gone to it's new home awhile back as well, but I just realized that once again there are a backlog of quilts that I have not blogged about.  I don't want this to happen, as I like to keep a journal of my projects, even if not many people read blogs anymore.  This is also a special quilt that I've put off blogging about because I don't know how much to say about it.

Let me explain a bit.  Almost every larger quilt I work on has a book, or theme imprinted into itself.  This is because I usually listen to audiobooks while I'm quilting.  So quite often a larger quilt will naturally correlate with the book I happened to be reading. This doesn't neccesarily mean that the quilt has any meaning or theme related to the book, it is just connected in my head.  Of course the stronger connection or reaction I have to a book,  the stronger the remembrance is years later.  There are definitely some quilts that don't have any book connection, but there are also some quilts that I made 4 or 5 years ago that I clearly connect a book with the quilt.

I've sometimes thought it would be interesting to mention this book in my blog post, or possibly name the quilt with a theme from the book.  The reason I don't is fairly simple.  It feels like a leap into my personal life which I've clearly drawn a line on since my first days of blogging.  I share almost no personal information here which has been a conscious choice on my part.  I have sometimes wanted  to share more, as I realize there can be value in this.  There are also drawbacks, a big one for me being that I'm not interested in dealing with a highly interactive online presence.  I appreciate comments and encouragements so much, but my real life takes most of my available energy and I guard my quilting very closely as a relaxing hobby.  So to start talking about the books I read and my inspirations for various quilts might seem like a simple thing, but for me it's crossing a high line of privacy that I've mostly maintained.  Now, I'm not saying that to change this would be a bad thing!  I'm obviously considering it!  

Another reason is that I sell most of my quilts, and I feel strongly about the person who buys my quilt being the new owner of the quilt and it's no longer 'mine'.  This is the aspect that I'm curious how others would view this.  If you were purchasing any handmade item like this, would you like to know the maker's interpretation and inspiration?  Or might that take away from what it possibly could mean to you?  I'd love it if anyone would weigh in on their opinion!

Basket Quilt


This quilt was started at least four years ago.  My plan all along was that it would be a queen size for my guest bedroom.  It took me a long time to finish, because it was a bit of a slog.  And I had to really puzzle over how to get the block setting right.  The blocks had to be on point, and I was very particular about their spacing!  I used a variety of navy blues for the baskets, and a wide range of whites and off whites for the background fabrics as well.  

It was inspired by a photo of an antique quilt that had blue baskets like this that got cut off at the sides of the quilt.  It also had a similar spacing to these baskets which I was determined to achieve.  The distance between baskets and how they are offset from the rows above and below them actually makes a big difference in the look of the finished quilt!  I've included a photo of the quilt that inspired me.  It's from the book Warman's Vintage Quilts, which I highly recommend if you enjoy antique quilts.  There are no patterns, just hundreds of photos of old quilts.

This ended up being such a big quilt that I got it long arm quilted.  I love the finished quilt, but realized that I just didn't need it since I already had a lovely quilt that my mom had made me which I wanted to use in my guest bedroom.  I sold it in my shop, and have been selling more larger quilts.  I'm finding that larger quilts are selling faster than smaller ones, which is making me rethink the standard idea that smaller and cheaper sells better.  Maybe more of my buyers want larger throw and bed quilts?  I'm happy to oblige!

Jacob’s Ladder Nine Patch Quilt Scrap Quilt #7

Remember my quest to use up all my scraps?  Well here's #6 all finished up!

Years ago I had a quilt book that included this pattern.  I no longer have that book, but I did make a quilt in 2012 from this design.  I included a photo of it here because it's interesting to see how the design look changes with your placement of value and how clearly defined your lights and darks are.

In my earlier quilt, the lights and darks are opposite locations.  Also, my earlier quilt had mainly very lights and very darks, whereas my current scrappy quilt has every value of light, medium, and dark, which gives it a softer look.

I made up a little drawing here that will hopefully help you if you want to make this design.  I just showed you how to make one block (it's a big block, like 18.5" square) so to make a nice lap size you could make 12 blocks in a 3 by 4 setting like I did here.

Now let's talk a little bit about using value.  I prefer my current use of value over my original quilt.  I love the way mixing in medium values with both the dark and light areas can blend the design and make it more interesting.  So don't overthink whether your medium values are dark or light.  You'll be amazed how the design will emerge beautifully even though you could use the same medium value fabric in both the dark and light sections.  

I also included some dark squares purposely in the lighter section.  I actually started out thinking I would do that for the whole quilt, then changed my mind and decided to stick with mostly lights in those areas.  But this adds interest and movement to the quilt!  It's really hard to mess up a design like this!  Small block quilts are so forgiving this way, although they do take a long time to piece!!

Now let's talk a bit about backing choice.  I find choosing a backing to be a hard decision sometimes.  There are times where there's an obvious best choice, but sometimes I have no idea what will compliment the quilt.  I usually carry the quilt top over to my fabric cupboard and stand there with it over my arm for awhile, holding it up to different backing fabrics.  In this case, I saw this yellow vintage sheet out of the corner of my eye, and instantly felt a physical tug towards it.  But I dismissed it subconsciously because I thought the quilt had enough yellow.  And also yellow seems like a less popular choice, less likely to appeal to most people.  (I think about this slightly when planning to sell a quilt)  So I tried a lot of different fabrics but nothing seemed right and in the end I realized that this yellow piece was the one!  I'm so glad I used it, as I think it's the perfect companion for this cheerful scrappy quilt.

Fabric Destash!

Hi friends!  If there are any of you still reading this, I wanted to let you know that I listed a bunch of fabrics from my stash in my Etsy store!

I get a lot of requests on how I get a large selection of fabrics for scrappy quilts.  Well here’s your chance to add some dimension to your stash!  There are four color stories, muted light, muted dark, bright light, and bright dark.  

They also are available in two sizes, 2.5” strips and 5” squares.  And besides that a bunch of Destash fabric and even a few UFO’s.